On occasion, a dispute may arise in the workplace that involves the taking of industrial action by employees.

Where industrial action occurs at a school, the principal should ensure that the impact on educational programs is minimised. It is essential that:

  • adequate supervision of students is provided
  • school programs are maintained wherever possible
  • the disruption to parents and students is kept to a minimum, and
  • all employees on duty are able to perform their professional duties free from intimidation

Principals are authorised to:

  • make any special timetabling or other arrangements necessary for the day
  • make any necessary and appropriate adjustments to class sizes and scheduled duties and extras provided that such adjustments are not in breach of any legislative or other employment obligations

In circumstances where there are insufficient teachers available for the duration of any stopwork action, casual relief teachers can be used to replace teachers absent on stopwork action (if employed by the school a casual relief teacher must be employed for a minimum period of 3 hours). The cost of employing casual relief teachers will be met by the Department.

Principals may seek the assistance of parents in the supervision of students during stopwork action or other bans. The normal legal liability protection granted to voluntary workers in schools will extend to parents used in a supervisory capacity.

It is inappropriate and unprofessional for employees to discuss the merits of an industrial dispute with students or to involve them in any way in a dispute (for example, the distribution of handbills). Failure to comply in this area may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the employees concerned.

Meetings of parents at the school are not to be used as forums for furthering the union's industrial campaign.

School equipment, stationery, staff members and students are not to be used for the preparation or dissemination of any material for industrial purposes.

Introduction for Industrial Action — Teaching Service

Reviewed 02 April 2020

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